Today is the 76th anniversary of the first flight of the LZ-129 Hindenburg, the largest aircraft in human history.
I know I wouldn’t have even been allowed to ride it if I lived back then, shut up.
The last thing Hugo Eckener wanted was for his airships to become flying billboards for the Nazis. He outright denounced the Nazis as criminal thugs well before they came to power and long before it became fashionable or safe for him to do so.
He was even considered a favorite to run against Adolf Hitler.
I say all this just to clarify, I’m not glorifying the Nazis or their authoritarian legacy of fear, violence, and mass murder by commemorating the airship Hindenburg.
More than anything its the fault of the Nazi’s that the Hindenburg was destroyed and rigid airships vanished forever.
A new exhibit “Fire and Ice: Hindenburg and Titanic” is opening at the National Postal Museum in Washington, DC on March 22, 2012. The location might seem unusual, but both were a major source of mail service in those days. Zeppelin mail even had special stamps and postmarks.
As the largest, fastest, and most glamorous ships of their eras, Hindenburg and Titanic share many similarities. The human tragedy associated with each stunned the world … a shock that affects people to this day. Both offered travelers elegant accommodations, and both provided postal services. In each era, the public trusted modern technology to provide safety and speed. And as anniversaries of the disasters are marked in 2012—seventy-five years since Hindenburg burned and a century since Titanic sank—many questions remain unanswered. Exhibit highlights feature a rare piece of mail sent from the Titanic and burnt mail salvaged from the wreckage of the Hindenburg. Over fifty original objects include mail, postcards, menus, photographs, keys from the Titanic post office, and the salvaged postmark device from the Hindenburg.
Matthew Porter Giant 2008
Matthew Porter’s photography exhibition High Lonesome
“But two themes persist: the American West and the Hindenburg. The show is an attempt at historical mash-up, bringing together romantic imagery of cowboys and zeppelins. Both subjects are iconic, yet their reputations have been soured by facts, as history overtakes myth. The Hindenburg, which began its life as the fountainhead of German creative and entrepreneurial vision, ended in a fiery death under the dark shroud of Nazi propaganda.”
Truth is stranger than anything fiction can devise…